Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

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Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by hawkeye on Wed 09 Mar 2016, 5:50 pm

My uncle, the philosopher Wink http://bit.ly/1U3FMTt

https://twitter.com/RafaelNadal/status/707618995650822144

Toni Nadal:The future of tennis

I’ll start with a quote from Mario Vargas Llosa’s essay “The civilization of the spectacle”:

"Today, sport has acquired an importance that in the past it possessed only in Ancient Greece. For Plato, Socrates, Aristotle and other frequenters of the Academy, the cultivation of the body was simultaneous and complementary to the cultivation of the spirit. It was believed that both are mutually enriched. The difference with our time is that now, generally, the practice of sports is made at the expense of, and instead of, intellectual work ".

In the past, when we watched players like IlieNastase, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe and Björn Borg we didn’t just appreciate their different styles, but we marveled at the way they could improvise and produce strategies to defeat each one of their opponents. They prepared each and every point and resolved them in their own way. We admired their talent as tennis players, but we loved their intelligent approach to the game as well.

Today, though, certain developments in the world of tennis are a cause for concern. A few days ago I read that at the recent Australian Open, more than seventy per cent of the points did not last longer than four shots. The statistics are similar at last year’s US Open. These figures may not surprise us, but the people who love this sport have reason to be worried.

There have been no changes in the rules of tennis since it first became a professional sport, even though today’s players are far bigger and more powerful than their predecessors. Not to mention their rackets which have become high technology weapons made out of extralight, lethal materials.

We all know that other sports like Formula 1, football and basketball have introduced changes in order to make the races or the games more entertaining.

I think I can predict where the future of tennis is heading, and I’m afraid I don’t like what I see. If nothing is done, we will soon be witness to the almost total domination of speed and power to the detriment of skills and tactics. Tennis will just become a matter of brute force, rather than a sport in which players need to work on improving their skills, reflect on the game, and apply intelligent strategies.

If the trend continues, those of us who are involved in the game will have to adapt: we’ll have to leave our principles to one side and pursue a new kind of training that ignores reflection and leads to what the wise men of Greece rejected centuries ago: the separation of sport from the cultivation of the spirit.



Toni Nadal

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by bogbrush on Wed 09 Mar 2016, 11:23 pm

What a load of rubbish. Just because Rafa can't cope with the pace if the game.

Try "My Uncle the whiner"
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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by JuliusHMarx on Thu 10 Mar 2016, 12:42 am

Sounds like he's against strings that produce extra topspin.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by It Must Be Love on Thu 10 Mar 2016, 1:29 am

Uncle Toni is extremely intelligent, and this is a very well written and thoughtful piece. I don't think he's even talking about Rafa here, Nadal has already been successful and is clearly in the twilight of his career; but he is speaking about what we need to help tennis in the long run. I think we will soon see the end of players like Federer, Djokovic, and Nadal; and soon face the prospect of players like Kyrgios and Raonic totally dominating and going tournaments unbroken.

If his stat about 70% is true, that is very concerning. I rarely see points less than or = to 4 shots that are enjoyable. If 70% of points are 4 shots of less, that for me sends alarm bells ringing.
That is my opinion though, and it's fine if people disagree, some people may be fond of having 70% of points which are over quickly, maybe with a unreturnable serve, or maybe even a big serve followed by a very simple put-away.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by barrystar on Thu 10 Mar 2016, 2:25 pm

If nothing is done, we will soon be witness to the almost total domination of speed and power physical fitness and endurance to the detriment of skills and tactics. Tennis will just become a matter of brute force and getting the ball back with heavy topspin until your opponent makes a mistake, rather than a sport in which players need to work on improving their skills, reflect on the game, and apply intelligent strategies.

Fixed it for Toni..
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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by laverfan on Sat 12 Mar 2016, 2:39 pm

hawkeye wrote:If the trend continues, those of us who are involved in the game will have to adapt: we’ll have to leave our principles to one side and pursue a new kind of training that ignores reflection and leads to what the wise men of Greece rejected centuries ago: the separation of sport from the cultivation of the spirit.

Toni Nadal

The principles are already in the dust. Hypobaric chambers, Oxygen tents, Bigger racquets, synthetic strings.... There is no spirit, just crass commercialism.

There should be an alternative slam, which has a minimum of 20 shots. Anything less, and the player with lower number shots should be given (20 - average number of rally shots hit) as lashes outside RLA, RG, W and Flushing Meadows.

They should also be handed a ban of 12 months for violating the Greek 'spirit' of the sport. Whistle

Javelin throwing should also require 20 shots or less more. Run

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by It Must Be Love on Sat 12 Mar 2016, 3:11 pm

This is a case of opinion LF, I'm not saying everyone has to agree.

But I personally find matches where over 70% of points are 4 shots or under as quite dull. I can't remember a single rally which was 4 shots or under in the last decade that were memorable.
I was even watching some random Federer fan video on youtube, with clips of his best points in Grand Slams, some of them were incredible, but I can't remember seeing any aces or simple 1-2 punches making the cut.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Mad for Chelsea on Sat 12 Mar 2016, 3:35 pm

Djokovic's winning return on MP down at the US Open in the 2011 SF vs Feds? pretty memorable IMO...

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by It Must Be Love on Sat 12 Mar 2016, 3:38 pm

Mad for Chelsea wrote:Djokovic's winning return on MP down at the US Open in the 2011 SF vs Feds? pretty memorable IMO...
That was more on the importance of the point, rather than the entertainment value of the point in isolation (which is what I was talking about); but fine I'll give you that one as it was pretty cool.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by lags72 on Sat 12 Mar 2016, 3:38 pm

There's very often more than a hint of irony (albeit totally unintended !) when Uncle Toni regales us with pearls of wisdom, whether in post-match comments/assessment, or the state of the game in general.

I can recall one of our regular posters - seem to think it was possibly Henman Bill, but could be wrong (??) - offering a very funny 'alternative' version of Toni's post-match analysis of where things went wrong for Rafa in one of his series of successive early Wimbledon exits to players ranked below 100 (I believe there have been four such exits in all, so not sure which exactly it was).

Assuming it was HB (or whoever), I'm pretty sure he could find some rich pickings in this latest piece from Uncle T.

PS - I should have added that barrystar has had a little go above ..... OK

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Born Slippy on Sat 12 Mar 2016, 4:58 pm

Good comments from Toni I think. Whilst there's a lot of bizarre comments about rallying being bad for the game, the real danger is we are going to end up with a bunch of Del Potro/Raonic type clones, with percentage power games overwhelming players with superior talent and skill.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by laverfan on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 4:11 am

It Must Be Love wrote:This is a case of opinion LF, I'm not saying everyone has to agree.

Toni has stated his...

It Must Be Love wrote:But I personally find matches where over 70% of points are 4 shots or under as quite dull. I can't remember a single rally which was 4 shots or under in the last decade that were memorable.

... as have you...


It Must Be Love wrote:I was even watching some random Federer fan video on youtube, with clips of his best points in Grand Slams, some of them were incredible, but I can't remember seeing any aces or simple 1-2 punches making the cut.

Serving aces requires timing and precision. Go to a court, have someone stand on the other side of the net, serve as many aces as you can, and find what percentage you can serve out of total.

A 20-shot rally, or a one-two punch, both require skill, albeit of different kind. There is no such thing as one is better than the other. Yet, there is lament every time a Raonic or Isner or Kyrgios or Karlovic serves one.

Variety is what Tennis should be about. Lip service to variety is hypocrisy.


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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by laverfan on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 4:16 am

Born Slippy wrote:Good comments from Toni I think. Whilst there's a lot of bizarre comments about rallying being bad for the game, the real danger is we are going to end up with a bunch of Del Potro/Raonic type clones, with percentage power games overwhelming players with superior talent and skill.

... and we are also going to end with clones of Djokovic, Murray, Nadal... Is superior talent and skill measured only using rallying skills? Try serving an ace against Djokovic or Murray.

Conveniently you have chosen two arbitrary categories with some words in one like superior talent, skill and in the other a derisive category like 'clones'. The subjectivity is rather obvious.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by summerblues on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 5:05 am

laverfan wrote:Conveniently you have chosen two arbitrary categories with some words in one like superior talent, skill and in the other a derisive category like 'clones'. The subjectivity is rather obvious.
+1

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by kingraf on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 8:10 am

It is funny how similar aspects are viewed in different sports. In cricket the ability to bowl fast is seen as the holy grail of abilities. Logical when you consider that at any one time only a handful of people are able to bowl 95mph with the control required to succeed in world cricket.

I'd think that in tennis the amount of people capable of chucking a ball 140mph with great control is as rare and yet it's seen as nothing to be proud of
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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by hawkeye on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 9:32 am

kingraf wrote:

I'd think that in tennis the amount of people capable of chucking a ball 140mph with great control is as rare and yet it's seen as nothing to be proud of

There are lots of sports where the ability to do one thing really well is all that's required. Most come in the category of athletics. Athletes that excel in them should be rightfully proud of their rare abilities but they don't pull in that many viewers. Tennis is popular because it is a game and there is more than one way to win. It's disappointing not to see some sort of battle but a succession of knock outs. Talking of the serve in particular it is the only shot that is played that isn't a response to an opponents move so making conditions so favorable that it can routinely be a knock out shot takes away the things that most people enjoy about either watching or playing tennis. If pro players are capable of hitting balls hard and with great control into what by any standards is a large area (the service box) then why do they need two chances? The service should be the start of the game and not something that in itself can win matches. If I wanted to watch a sport were athletes won with a single skill that they could demonstrate with no interference from an opponent I would watch shot putting or javelin throwing etc.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Guest on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 9:33 am

summerblues wrote:
laverfan wrote:Conveniently you have chosen two arbitrary categories with some words in one like superior talent, skill and in the other a derisive category like 'clones'. The subjectivity is rather obvious.
+1
+2

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by lags72 on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 10:50 am

Some great stuff from laverfan.

You're on top form OK

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Born Slippy on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 11:40 am

hawkeye wrote:
kingraf wrote:

I'd think that in tennis the amount of people capable of chucking a ball 140mph with great control is as rare and yet it's seen as nothing to be proud of

There are lots of sports where the ability to do one thing really well is all that's required. Most come in the category of athletics. Athletes that excel in them should be rightfully proud of their rare abilities but they don't pull in that many viewers. Tennis is popular because it is a game and there is more than one way to win. It's disappointing not to see some sort of battle but a succession of knock outs. Talking of the serve in particular it is the only shot that is played that isn't a response to an opponents move so making conditions so favorable that it can routinely be a knock out shot takes away the things that most people enjoy about either watching or playing tennis. If pro players are capable of hitting balls hard and with great control into what by any standards is a large area (the service box) then why do they need two chances? The service should be the start of the game and not something that in itself can win matches. If I wanted to watch a sport were athletes won with a single skill that they could demonstrate with no interference from an opponent I would watch shot putting or javelin throwing etc.

Excellent post HE. It's also worth noting that in cricket the ability to bowl fast isn't enough. Brett Lee and Shoiab Akhtar aren't regarded as all-time greats. They weren't accurate enough or had enough variety to build on their speed. The likes of Waqar or Steyn combined pace with great skill - they are the true great bowlers.

Serving well in tennis is undoubtably easier than bowling fast in cricket. There are far bigger margins (particularly for taller players) and the spots they have to hit are much greater. There's a massive advantage to being a great server compared to any other aspect of the game. Whilst that's always been true, it's moving further in that direction. No offence to them, but Ivo and Groth don't have abilities in any other area of tennis which would be top 500 in the world.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Guest on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 11:52 am

hawkeye wrote:
kingraf wrote:

I'd think that in tennis the amount of people capable of chucking a ball 140mph with great control is as rare and yet it's seen as nothing to be proud of

There are lots of sports where the ability to do one thing really well is all that's required. Most come in the category of athletics. Athletes that excel in them should be rightfully proud of their rare abilities but they don't pull in that many viewers. Tennis is popular because it is a game and there is more than one way to win. It's disappointing not to see some sort of battle but a succession of knock outs. Talking of the serve in particular it is the only shot that is played that isn't a response to an opponents move so making conditions so favorable that it can routinely be a knock out shot takes away the things that most people enjoy about either watching or playing tennis. If pro players are capable of hitting balls hard and with great control into what by any standards is a large area (the service box) then why do they need two chances? The service should be the start of the game and not something that in itself can win matches. If I wanted to watch a sport were athletes won with a single skill that they could demonstrate with no interference from an opponent I would watch shot putting or javelin throwing etc.

So effectively waiting for an UE is doing one thing really well, running. Survival of the fittest.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Born Slippy on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 11:56 am

laverfan wrote:
Born Slippy wrote:Good comments from Toni I think. Whilst there's a lot of bizarre comments about rallying being bad for the game, the real danger is we are going to end up with a bunch of Del Potro/Raonic type clones, with percentage power games overwhelming players with superior talent and skill.

... and we are also going to end with clones of Djokovic, Murray, Nadal... Is superior talent and skill measured only using rallying skills? Try serving an ace against Djokovic or Murray.

Conveniently you have chosen two arbitrary categories with some words in one like superior talent, skill and in the other a derisive category like 'clones'. The subjectivity is rather obvious.

I don't recall choosing two categories. I pointed to one type of player which I see as a genuine threat to the future of the game - relying on a very limited skill set. If I thought it possible for Rafa to be cloned I would be equally concerned - his game similarly relies upon a very limited gameplan designed to prevent others from playing.

Superior skill and talent is hard to define. However, in my view, it relies upon being good at all aspects of the game and having the flair to "wow" crowds. I don't particularly like Fed's game style but it's beyond debate that he's way more talented than Karlovic or Isner - so are the rest of the big 4.

Your original point was nonsensical. The average point length even between Nadal and Novak is usually about 6 shots - so, whilst there are some rallies over 20 shots, there must also be a lot ending in the first 2-3. Why does Novak beat Andy - primarily because he serves better. Very very few tennis matches are decided on fitness. A huge number will be decided based on who has the better serve.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by kingraf on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 12:01 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:
hawkeye wrote:
kingraf wrote:

I'd think that in tennis the amount of people capable of chucking a ball 140mph with great control is as rare and yet it's seen as nothing to be proud of

There are lots of sports where the ability to do one thing really well is all that's required. Most come in the category of athletics. Athletes that excel in them should be rightfully proud of their rare abilities but they don't pull in that many viewers. Tennis is popular because it is a game and there is more than one way to win. It's disappointing not to see some sort of battle but a succession of knock outs. Talking of the serve in particular it is the only shot that is played that isn't a response to an opponents move so making conditions so favorable that it can routinely be a knock out shot takes away the things that most people enjoy about either watching or playing tennis. If pro players are capable of hitting balls hard and with great control into what by any standards is a large area (the service box) then why do they need two chances? The service should be the start of the game and not something that in itself can win matches. If I wanted to watch a sport were athletes won with a single skill that they could demonstrate with no interference from an opponent I would watch shot putting or javelin throwing etc.

So effectively waiting for an UE is doing one thing really well, running. Survival of the fittest.

Not necessarily. You've got to be hitting decent ground strokes as well because you aren't beating the ball for pace if all you do is get it back in play.
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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Guest on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 12:04 pm

kingraf wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:
hawkeye wrote:
kingraf wrote:

I'd think that in tennis the amount of people capable of chucking a ball 140mph with great control is as rare and yet it's seen as nothing to be proud of

There are lots of sports where the ability to do one thing really well is all that's required. Most come in the category of athletics. Athletes that excel in them should be rightfully proud of their rare abilities but they don't pull in that many viewers. Tennis is popular because it is a game and there is more than one way to win. It's disappointing not to see some sort of battle but a succession of knock outs. Talking of the serve in particular it is the only shot that is played that isn't a response to an opponents move so making conditions so favorable that it can routinely be a knock out shot takes away the things that most people enjoy about either watching or playing tennis. If pro players are capable of hitting balls hard and with great control into what by any standards is a large area (the service box) then why do they need two chances? The service should be the start of the game and not something that in itself can win matches. If I wanted to watch a sport were athletes won with a single skill that they could demonstrate with no interference from an opponent I would watch shot putting or javelin throwing etc.

So effectively waiting for an UE is doing one thing really well, running. Survival of the fittest.

Not necessarily. You've got to be hitting decent ground strokes as well because you aren't beating the ball for pace if all you do is get it back in play.

That depends on what defines a "decent" groundstroke.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by It Must Be Love on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 12:06 pm

laverfan wrote:
Serving aces requires timing and precision.  Go to a court, have someone stand on the other side of the net, serve as many aces as you can, and find what percentage you can serve out of total.

A 20-shot rally, or a one-two punch, both require skill, albeit of different kind. There is no such thing as one is better than the other. Yet, there is lament every time a Raonic or Isner or Kyrgios or Karlovic serves one.
No, I'm sorry, it doesn't take that much skill to hit aces if you're so tall like Karlovic or Raonic. The angles to produce are made easier as you get taller.
Federer is not that tall, he his genuinely a serving genius, even though Karlovic and Raonic have better serves I frankly don't see them as that skilful.

Also, I never mentioned in the post you quoted anything about skill. What I said was that in my opinion, I find it very boring if over 70% of points are 4 shots or less. Even in Djokovic Nadal, you'd get a good 30-40% atleast that are 4 shots or below; this issue is not just variety but people wanting a ridiculously high percentage of points to be over in a few seconds.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by It Must Be Love on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 12:21 pm

Born Slippy wrote:
laverfan wrote:
Born Slippy wrote:Good comments from Toni I think. Whilst there's a lot of bizarre comments about rallying being bad for the game, the real danger is we are going to end up with a bunch of Del Potro/Raonic type clones, with percentage power games overwhelming players with superior talent and skill.

... and we are also going to end with clones of Djokovic, Murray, Nadal... Is superior talent and skill measured only using rallying skills? Try serving an ace against Djokovic or Murray.

Conveniently you have chosen two arbitrary categories with some words in one like superior talent, skill and in the other a derisive category like 'clones'. The subjectivity is rather obvious.

Your original point was nonsensical. The average point length even between Nadal and Novak is usually about 6 shots - so, whilst there are some rallies over 20 shots, there must also be a lot ending in the first 2-3. Why does Novak beat Andy - primarily because he serves better. Very very few tennis matches are decided on fitness. A huge number will be decided based on who has the better serve.

Just done a stats check... and they clearly back you up here born Slippy. in the latest Djokovic-Nadal match, 44% of points were over in 3 shots or less.
http://www.tennisabstract.com/charting/20160110-M-Doha-F-Novak_Djokovic-Rafael_Nadal.html
Edit: Searched up the US Open 2013 final this time, and it's 40% of points. http://www.tennisabstract.com/charting/20130909-M-US_Open-F-Novak_Djokovic-Rafael_Nadal.html

And this is Djokovic vs Nadal, not Raonic vs Isner. Most of those 40-44% of points I will not find interesting, will probably be an unreturnable, or at best a simple 1-2 punch.
It's a case of people saying that this 40-45% of points being over in less than 5 seconds is not enough for them.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by kingraf on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 12:27 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:
kingraf wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:
hawkeye wrote:
kingraf wrote:

I'd think that in tennis the amount of people capable of chucking a ball 140mph with great control is as rare and yet it's seen as nothing to be proud of

There are lots of sports where the ability to do one thing really well is all that's required. Most come in the category of athletics. Athletes that excel in them should be rightfully proud of their rare abilities but they don't pull in that many viewers. Tennis is popular because it is a game and there is more than one way to win. It's disappointing not to see some sort of battle but a succession of knock outs. Talking of the serve in particular it is the only shot that is played that isn't a response to an opponents move so making conditions so favorable that it can routinely be a knock out shot takes away the things that most people enjoy about either watching or playing tennis. If pro players are capable of hitting balls hard and with great control into what by any standards is a large area (the service box) then why do they need two chances? The service should be the start of the game and not something that in itself can win matches. If I wanted to watch a sport were athletes won with a single skill that they could demonstrate with no interference from an opponent I would watch shot putting or javelin throwing etc.

So effectively waiting for an UE is doing one thing really well, running. Survival of the fittest.

Not necessarily. You've got to be hitting decent ground strokes as well because you aren't beating the ball for pace if all you do is get it back in play.

That depends on what defines a "decent" groundstroke.

How many players have won matches sending down half courters and then trying to chase down would be winners?
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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Guest on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 12:31 pm

kingraf wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:
kingraf wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:
hawkeye wrote:
kingraf wrote:

I'd think that in tennis the amount of people capable of chucking a ball 140mph with great control is as rare and yet it's seen as nothing to be proud of

There are lots of sports where the ability to do one thing really well is all that's required. Most come in the category of athletics. Athletes that excel in them should be rightfully proud of their rare abilities but they don't pull in that many viewers. Tennis is popular because it is a game and there is more than one way to win. It's disappointing not to see some sort of battle but a succession of knock outs. Talking of the serve in particular it is the only shot that is played that isn't a response to an opponents move so making conditions so favorable that it can routinely be a knock out shot takes away the things that most people enjoy about either watching or playing tennis. If pro players are capable of hitting balls hard and with great control into what by any standards is a large area (the service box) then why do they need two chances? The service should be the start of the game and not something that in itself can win matches. If I wanted to watch a sport were athletes won with a single skill that they could demonstrate with no interference from an opponent I would watch shot putting or javelin throwing etc.

So effectively waiting for an UE is doing one thing really well, running. Survival of the fittest.

Not necessarily. You've got to be hitting decent ground strokes as well because you aren't beating the ball for pace if all you do is get it back in play.

That depends on what defines a "decent" groundstroke.

How many players have won matches sending down half courters and then trying to chase down would be winners?

Oooooh errrrr. Pretty sure many would have the same if not similar names on a list. That discussion has taken on many forms over the years, tbh it's not a discussions I want to enter for the sake of repetition and treading over old ground.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by sirfredperry on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 12:55 pm

OK, big serving gives players an edge, as does extreme fitness. But neither will get the job done alone. Thankfully we still have, in tennis, a sport where the little guy can thrive (think merely of David Ferrer) and where there is room for tactics and imagination over power (Radwanska and, going further back, Santoro).
In any case, the guys with monster serves (Karlovic, Isner, Groth etc) are handicapped by being poor movers. You're not going to break their serve very often but you can hang on for the odd break-point moment or for the tiebreak.
If it was all about the serve these guys would be top five. But they're not.


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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Born Slippy on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 2:53 pm

kingraf wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:
kingraf wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:
hawkeye wrote:
kingraf wrote:

I'd think that in tennis the amount of people capable of chucking a ball 140mph with great control is as rare and yet it's seen as nothing to be proud of

There are lots of sports where the ability to do one thing really well is all that's required. Most come in the category of athletics. Athletes that excel in them should be rightfully proud of their rare abilities but they don't pull in that many viewers. Tennis is popular because it is a game and there is more than one way to win. It's disappointing not to see some sort of battle but a succession of knock outs. Talking of the serve in particular it is the only shot that is played that isn't a response to an opponents move so making conditions so favorable that it can routinely be a knock out shot takes away the things that most people enjoy about either watching or playing tennis. If pro players are capable of hitting balls hard and with great control into what by any standards is a large area (the service box) then why do they need two chances? The service should be the start of the game and not something that in itself can win matches. If I wanted to watch a sport were athletes won with a single skill that they could demonstrate with no interference from an opponent I would watch shot putting or javelin throwing etc.

So effectively waiting for an UE is doing one thing really well, running. Survival of the fittest.

Not necessarily. You've got to be hitting decent ground strokes as well because you aren't beating the ball for pace if all you do is get it back in play.

That depends on what defines a "decent" groundstroke.

How many players have won matches sending down half courters and then trying to chase down would be winners?

No one. It just doesn't work. You might be able to do it in the odd match against lesser players but it's not a top level strategy. Does anyone think that's what Nadal or even Ferrer do?

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by laverfan on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 6:11 pm

It Must Be Love wrote:Just done a stats check... and they clearly back you up here born Slippy. in the latest Djokovic-Nadal match, 44% of points were over in 3 shots or less.
http://www.tennisabstract.com/charting/20160110-M-Doha-F-Novak_Djokovic-Rafael_Nadal.html
Edit: Searched up the US Open 2013 final this time, and it's 40% of points. http://www.tennisabstract.com/charting/20130909-M-US_Open-F-Novak_Djokovic-Rafael_Nadal.html

And this is Djokovic vs Nadal, not Raonic vs Isner. Most of those 40-44% of points I will not find interesting, will probably be an unreturnable, or at best a simple 1-2 punch.
It's a case of people saying that this 40-45% of points being over in less than 5 seconds is not enough for them.

How does your research corroborate a statement like...

But I personally find matches where over 70% of points are 4 shots or under as quite dull. I can't remember a single rally which was 4 shots or under in the last decade that were memorable.

A match with 4 shots or less (70% or 40%), is not the same as a 4 aces per game.

http://www.ausopen.com/en_AU/scores/stats/day17/1602ms.html - Raonic v Murray

Total points 318, total aces in the match 32 - that is 10% points on aces. Look at the Rally statistics on that page.

Raonic is 6'5", while Murray is 6'3" (Del Potro is 6'6"). A mere 2" in height difference, and see the serve stats. Can Murray serve bombs? Yes he can.

Raonic at 233kmph vs Murray at 211kmph.

Here is http://www.ausopen.com/en_AU/scores/stats/day19/1701ms.html - Djokovic v Murray.

Djokovic prefers to serve at slower speeds, but more accurately.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Guest on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 6:32 pm

I would like someone to explain to me where the skill was in the first set of the Murray vs Granollers in which Murray won the set hitting 1 winner and then tell me that it's entertaining and has wow factor all over it.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by It Must Be Love on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 6:38 pm

I'm not saying that a rally with 4 shots or less are always aces; of course not.
I like variety in a match, some aces, some long rallies- that's ok. But do we really need 50%+ points in a match to be over in 1-3 shots ?
Even Djokovic-Nadal had 40-45% of points over in 1-3 shots, which dismissed the stereotype that it's all long rallies.

On an individual basis, I find the vast majority of points that are 1-3 very dull. Nothing really happens, very rare for any sort of excitement, general the point is over in less than 5 seconds.
As for your point about the height; that is addressing talent needed to serve well, which is not my main point. But yes, I stand by my claim, I think Raonic is a great server who obviously practiced his serve a lot and perfected his technique, but every inch makes a difference, the taller you are the easier it is to serve and the more angles you have available, so I will never see Raonic as a genius server like Federer (despite having a marginally better serve).

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by It Must Be Love on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 6:41 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:I would like someone to explain to me where the skill was in the first set of the Murray vs Granollers in which Murray won the set hitting 1 winner and then tell me that it's entertaining and has wow factor all over it.
I watched the highlights, and there were actually some great points and fantastic shots. Murray was not at his best and passive, but Granollers was playing some surprisingly attacking tennis, while Murray's defence was awesome as usual.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Guest on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 6:54 pm

It Must Be Love wrote:
legendkillarV2 wrote:I would like someone to explain to me where the skill was in the first set of the Murray vs Granollers in which Murray won the set hitting 1 winner and then tell me that it's entertaining and has wow factor all over it.
I watched the highlights, and there were actually some great points and fantastic shots. Murray was not at his best and passive, but Granollers was playing some surprisingly attacking tennis, while Murray's defence was awesome as usual.  

Don't think great and fantastic would be how I'd summarise the shots they were on display in that encounter.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Born Slippy on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 7:56 pm

legendkillarV2 wrote:I would like someone to explain to me where the skill was in the first set of the Murray vs Granollers in which Murray won the set hitting 1 winner and then tell me that it's entertaining and has wow factor all over it.

That match doesn't support your point at all. Murray played like a mug - I don't think he timed the ball at all until about three games from the end. Because he was dropping the ball short, Granollers was smacking winners all over the place - 32 I think in 2 sets against one of the best retrievers in the game.

Whilst he might have won a couple of points by running around, the main reason Murray won that match was because his serve was excellent throughout. Even on a slow hardcourt that was the critical shot.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Guest on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 9:11 pm

Doesn't support my point?

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Born Slippy on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 10:02 pm

Your point was that players win matches by chasing down half court balls. That wasn't what happened in that match. Not sure why you need your own point explaining to you though.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by summerblues on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 10:25 pm

Born Slippy wrote:Very very few tennis matches are decided on fitness. A huge number will be decided based on who has the better serve.
This strikes me as quite likely wrong. I think it is easy to get confused that way because big serving is more readily visible to the naked eye but I doubt it is true.

One way to test the hypothesis would be to try to order maybe top 100 players on (a) fitness and (b) serve and see which one is more correlated to their ranking. I suspect it would be (a).

A simpler test would be to think of maybe 5-10 fittest players in top 100 vs 5-10 best servers and again check their ranking. I doubt the serve will come out as the more important measure of success.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Born Slippy on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 10:46 pm

Absolutely no way of measuring the fittest players though. Possibly Monaco, Robredo, Ferrer might be up there but for all I know it could be Pella and Sousa - I've never seen them lose a match on fitness. Bjorn Phau always looked like he could run for days.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by hawkeye on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 10:51 pm

It Must Be Love wrote:but every inch makes a difference, the taller you are the easier it is to serve and the more angles you have available

I doubt tennis would have all the giants that it has at the moment if it wasn't for the huge advantage that height gives. Many of these players far from looking skilled after they have made use of their height to serve a bomb look ungainly as they lollop about the court. With the emphasis on one shot or short ball bashing tennis this matters less than it should. As Rafa's Uncle indicated tennis has bigger more powerful players with equipment that makes tactics and the intellectual part of the game less important. If tennis continues in this direction will it damage the sports popularity? I think it will.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Born Slippy on Sun 13 Mar 2016, 11:11 pm

Born Slippy wrote:Absolutely no way of measuring the fittest players though. Possibly Monaco, Robredo, Ferrer might be up there but for all I know it could be Pella and Sousa - I've never seen them lose a match on fitness. Bjorn Phau always looked like he could run for days.

And, of course, the real test is what happens if you swap serve for fitness. If Ferrer had a 150 mph serve on top of his groundstrokes but only average fitness how would he be doing? If Isner had incredible fitness but an average serve would he still be as good? I'd suggest that Ferrer would still be top 10 - probably more successful. Isner wouldn't be top 100.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by summerblues on Mon 14 Mar 2016, 3:01 am

Born Slippy wrote:Absolutely no way of measuring the fittest players though.
Likely more difficult than anyone would bother with, but "absolutely no way" is exaggerated.  One could look at players' history of results in long matches, at their history of following up one or two lengthy matches with a good next one etc.  There are certainly some matches out there where a player literally runs out of gas - those could also be used as guiding posts.

Certainly no worse than trying to "measure" something like this:

Born Slippy wrote:And, of course, the real test is what happens if you swap serve for fitness. If Ferrer had a 150 mph serve on top of his groundstrokes but only average fitness how would he be doing? If Isner had incredible fitness but an average serve would he still be as good? I'd suggest that Ferrer would still be top 10 - probably more successful. Isner wouldn't be top 100.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Haddie-nuff on Mon 14 Mar 2016, 6:34 am

A simpler test would be to think of maybe 5-10 fittest players in top 100 vs 5-10 best servers and again check their ranking. I doubt the serve will come out as the more important measure of success.

I totally agree. Take Djokovic, yes he has a good serve be he is not up there with the greatest, but he is a Duracell Bunny with an incredible return.
Rafa hasn't a decent serve at all .. but, of course until recently, has not let that stop him.. he too is a great returner and a great athlete.
I would hate to see the game being dominated by big servers, but at the end of the day I think fitness will win out in the end.

Lastly to illustrate my point  take the time to check out Ferrer's h 2 h against all the big players.. it is quite astonishing.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Guest on Mon 14 Mar 2016, 7:33 am

I may be wrong but I think that Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic may prove to be exceptional oddities in terms of their dominance and consistency. Perhaps only matched by the dominance and consistency of Borg before retiring aged 25 - although he never managed the US Open and I don't think he bothered with the Australian Open. It seems to be the baseliners that have this type of consistency.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Born Slippy on Mon 14 Mar 2016, 8:26 am

summerblues wrote:
Born Slippy wrote:Absolutely no way of measuring the fittest players though.
Likely more difficult than anyone would bother with, but "absolutely no way" is exaggerated.  One could look at players' history of results in long matches, at their history of following up one or two lengthy matches with a good next one etc.  There are certainly some matches out there where a player literally runs out of gas - those could also be used as guiding posts.

Certainly no worse than trying to "measure" something like this:

Born Slippy wrote:And, of course, the real test is what happens if you swap serve for fitness. If Ferrer had a 150 mph serve on top of his groundstrokes but only average fitness how would he be doing? If Isner had incredible fitness but an average serve would he still be as good? I'd suggest that Ferrer would still be top 10 - probably more successful. Isner wouldn't be top 100.

Obviously, I'm not suggesting measuring that "test". It's a simple subjective comparison which I invited you to consider.

Measuring 5 set matches might be one way to try and measure fitness but I doubt it would give you accurate results. There are many factors in a player having a good 5 set record and fitness is only one of them. Gasquet for example has a habit of losing them because his mentality under pressure is poor.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Born Slippy on Mon 14 Mar 2016, 8:29 am

Haddie-nuff wrote:A simpler test would be to think of maybe 5-10 fittest players in top 100 vs 5-10 best servers and again check their ranking. I doubt the serve will come out as the more important measure of success.

I totally agree. Take Djokovic, yes he has a good serve be he is not up there with the greatest, but he is a Duracell Bunny with an incredible return.
Rafa hasn't a decent serve at all .. but, of course until recently, has not let that stop him.. he too is a great returner and  a great athlete.
I would hate to see the game being dominated by big servers, but at the end of the day I think fitness will win out in the end.

Lastly to illustrate my point  take the time to check out Ferrer's h 2 h against all the big players.. it is quite astonishing.

Ferrer beats the big servers because he is a great returner. What role does fitness play in those wins? He usually wins fairly quickly. You appear to be making the same mistake as SB and conflating great returns, rock solid ground strokes and speed into one category of "fitness".

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Guest on Mon 14 Mar 2016, 9:10 am

Born Slippy wrote:Your point was that players win matches by chasing down half court balls. That wasn't what happened in that match. Not sure why you need your own point explaining to you though.

Where did I say that chasing half balls occurred in that match?

Again read before commenting.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Guest on Mon 14 Mar 2016, 9:14 am

Born Slippy wrote:
Born Slippy wrote:Absolutely no way of measuring the fittest players though. Possibly Monaco, Robredo, Ferrer might be up there but for all I know it could be Pella and Sousa - I've never seen them lose a match on fitness. Bjorn Phau always looked like he could run for days.

And, of course, the real test is what happens if you swap serve for fitness. If Ferrer had a 150 mph serve on top of his groundstrokes but only average fitness how would he be doing? If Isner had incredible fitness but an average serve would he still be as good? I'd suggest that Ferrer would still be top 10 - probably more successful. Isner wouldn't be top 100.

What is average fitness?

When you measure something, use tangibles.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Born Slippy on Mon 14 Mar 2016, 9:29 am

Come up with the tangibles then if you think there are any. I'd really like to read a post by you which contains anything beyond a re-hash of points made by others.

We are discussing an abstract concept of "fitness" which, unless we get the top 100 to all run a 10,000m race, we aren't going to measure.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

Post by Born Slippy on Mon 14 Mar 2016, 9:35 am

legendkillarV2 wrote:
Born Slippy wrote:Your point was that players win matches by chasing down half court balls. That wasn't what happened in that match. Not sure why you need your own point explaining to you though.

Where did I say that chasing half balls occurred in that match?

Again read before commenting.

Lol - so you went off on a complete non sequitur? You were giving that as an example of Murray hitting one winner in a set to support your earlier point about players winning based on defence and how it wasn't entertaining. I agree it wasn't entertaining but just pointed out it isn't a good example of the type of match you were complaining about.

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Re: Rafa Nadal "My uncle, the philosopher ;)"

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